Australia-led group bids $6.3bn for logistics firm Asciano

SYDNEY : An Australian-led consortium including a Chinese sovereign wealth fund bid US$6.30 billion for ports and rail operator Asciano Thursday, kicking off a bidding war with a Canadian asset manager.

Qube Holdings, leading a group including China’s CIC Capital Corporation, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and investment group Global Infrastructure Partners  said it had submitted the offer with an implied value of Aus$9.17 per Asciano share.

That valued the bid at Aus$8.95 billion. The announcement comes three months after the consortium bought a 19.99 percent stake in the Australian logistics giant and indicated a desire to break up the business.

The move is a direct challenge to the Aus$9 billion takeover bid revealed in July by Canadian asset manager Brookfield Infrastructure Partners, which if successful would be the biggest logistics deal in Australian corporate history.

Brookfield currently has a stake of just over 20 percent in Asciano. “The official gun has been fired, so we’ve had this shadow-boxing situation where Brookfield and Qube and its consortium partners have been throwing non-binding bids at each other,” IG markets analyst Evan Lucas told.

“This is binding, so it’s now a set, official price and a bidding war is underway. The winners out of this are Asciano shareholders. They are either going to get a higher price or a good deal, whichever way the board recommends them to go with.”


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